Thursday, October 11, 2012

Project Based Learning--More Effective Assessment/Learning Tool Than Traditional Paper and Pencil Tests

By 2014, project based assessments will play a major role in testing.  To ensure that students are ready for this, teachers will need to start thinking about how they will shift from the more traditional testing instruments to hands-on projects.

Project based learning offers many creative avenues for students to demonstrate their comprehension of core content material by applying that knowledge to solve real world problems.  Imagine using geometry to layout the groundwork of a playground for children.  Bring in some physics students to assist in the design of safe playground material.  What about having students design a solar powered car (students in engineering programs are already doing this on a small scale)?  For younger students, have them design a community garden where the produce they grow could be given to food banks or to the school cafeteria to create more healthy meals for students.  For tech students, have them design educational apps for Google or Apple.  Students ARE doing this already with grants from high tech firms under the guidance of their teachers.  For students in English and social studies classes, why not have them start letter campaigns to spur their political leaders to correct environmental problems affecting the globe such as water pollution, CO2 emissions, global climate change, rising water levels around the world, poverty, drought, refugees, etc.  For civics classes, have them identify problems in their cities, and how those problems might be corrected. Assist students in "connecting the dots" so to speak between the concepts learned in school with the global community outside the classroom. 

With Common Core project based learning activities, students will be better prepared to  to enter the university and actually graduate.  This will be a major plus for especially ELLs since of those who do make it to college generally end up in 2 year colleges and generally drop out before the end of the first year. 

Below are two links.  One is a video on what project based learning looks like in practice, and the other is an article on it.



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